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Tokyo to San Francisco in 5½ Hours? If All Goes Well, Yes

It’s been 50 years since the first Concorde took her maiden test flight, inaugurating the era of supersonic passenger travel, and almost 16 years since that era drew to a close, back in 2003. Since then we’ve had indulgent A380s and efficient 787s, but the truth is, we never really got over the Concorde. It’s still the one that got away, memorably beautiful if rather high-maintenance. Now several manufacturers are planning to eclipse those memories with planes that are cleaner, quieter, and yes, quicker than the Concorde. Up first: Denver-based Boom Supersonic, which is hoping to fly a prototype this year, and if all goes well, by 2025, have their 55-seat Overture craft whizzing passengers from Tokyo to San Francisco, typically a 9½-hour journey, in 5½ hours. Perhaps precipitously, Japan Airlines has taken an option on 20. Until this jet arrives, here’s a look at how its speediness will compare with the original Concorde and other brisk vehicles, existing and theoretical, that make our hearts beat faster.

3,400 MPH: Boeing NeXt Hypersonic Concept
Seats: N/A

First Flight: No earlier than 2029

This still very-much-theoretical hypersonic aircraft could make Mach 5 (about 3,400 mph) travel possible at altitudes of 100,000 feet.

 

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Excerpt from WSK

How Airbus’s A380 Went From Wonder to Blunder


World’s largest passenger plane was hurt by misjudged market trends, internal dysfunction and production problems<p>
Airbus has sunk at least $17 billion into the A380 project yet sold fewer than half of the 750 superjumbo jetliners it promised to deliver by the end of this year. An Airbus A380 of Lufthansa airline.<p>

When Airbus launched the A380 superjumbo in 2000, it touted the two-deck plane as “the Eighth Wonder of the World.” Instead, the world’s largest passenger plane exposed dysfunction inside the European aerospace company and now offers a textbook case of a company misjudging its market and losing big.<p>

Airbus has sunk at least $17 billion into the project yet sold fewer than half of the 750 superjumbo jetliners it promised to deliver by the end of this year. On Thursday Airbus said it would cease producing the 555-seat plane at the end of 2021.<p>

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Excerpt from WSJ

Investigators Search for Black Boxes in Amazon Plane Crash


Investigators in Texas looked Sunday for cockpit voice and data recorders in the wreckage of a cargo plane flying for Amazon.com<p>
Local and federal officials gathered at a staging area for the investigation into a cargo plane crash in Trinity Bay in Anahuac, Texas, on Saturday. The Boeing 767 was carrying goods for Amazon.com.<p>


Investigators in Texas searched Sunday for cockpit voice and data recorders in the wreckage of a cargo plane flying for Amazon.com Inc. that went into a sudden nosedive and crashed over the weekend, killing the three people on board.<p>
The Boeing Co. 767 crashed into Trinity Bay near Houston around 12:45 p.m. Central time Saturday, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. Authorities on Sunday said two of the bodies had been recovered, and search teams were seeking locator signals from so-called black box recorders believed to be buried in mud.<p>

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Excerpt from WSJ

New Black Boxes Offer Ability to Send Real-Time Data From Plane Crashes


Honeywell unveils satellite-linked, in-flight devices intended to speed investigations.  After the 2009 crash of Air France Flight 447 in the Atlantic Ocean, it took two years for investigators to find the black boxes.
Honeywell International Inc. is introducing a new line of aircraft cockpit and flight-data recorders that offer more data-storage capacity and the ability, for the first time, to use satellites to retrieve accident information in real time.

Honeywell officials and other proponents of the new technology said the devices, commonly called black boxes, promise major benefits for future plane crash investigations.

Such options have been debated for years by aviation industry officials, and have been championed by many safety advocates and accident investigators. The aim is to ensure vital crash data can be gathered quickly, avoiding the uncertainties of lengthy and sometimes fruitless searches for conventional recorders.

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Excerpt from WSJ

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